Little Aero A-18 called “Špaček” (Starling) was the first serial production fighter plane of Aero, a small new factory back then. One of the conditions set by MNO (Ministry of National Defence) was to use WW1 engines BMW IIIa with an output of 136 kW. It is not a lot of power, but A-18 was a small and light aircraft. Despite the small engine output, A-18 was capable of reaching a speed of 229 km/h and was capable of climbing up to 8000 meters.
In total, 20 planes were produced. These planes were issued to three squadrons, starting on 6. 6. 1923.
However, due to the introduction of new fighters built with a more powerful engine HS-8Fb, A-18s were quickly issued to a training squadron in Cheb. A-18s were agile and popular planes among the pilots.
As for the construction:
– Airframe was built out of metallic tubes with a wooden front and canvas-covered tail.
– Engine was covered with polished dural panels.
– Wings had a wooden frame, while ailerons were built from metallic tubes. All covered by canvas.
– Stabilizers were built from wood with plywood cover. Elevators had a metal frame and canvas cover.
For further details on the building process, check Modelforum.cz. Here are a few comments:
Parts are very well made out of resin, with a lot of details. I would recommend it for modelers, who wish to build a plane just out of the box.
I had some difficulties fitting the machine guns to the airframe and placing them correctly into the cockpit – the instrument panel is in the way. I recommend fixing it first before you glue these parts together.
One half of the fuselage is longer by 1 mm and one of the elevators was slightly displaced as well.
Be very careful when drilling holes for pins.
There are three protrusions on the top wing. Two are for fuel tanks, however, the third one makes no sense. I recommend getting rid of all of them. This plane did not have fuel tanks throughout
the entire wing. They were visible from below, not from the top. Only ventilation tubes should be visible on the upper side.
The exhaust pipes were made out of scorched hypodermic needles. They look better in my opinion.
I was very disappointed by the decals (they looked good at first glance). They are out of register and I was missing the A-18.5 decal. Instead, I got an A-18.4 decal which does not correspond with the building plan. I had to print one myself.
I chose three-colored camouflage, simply because I like it.
The built fighter is A-18.5 from the Second Flying Regiment based in Olomouc.